Friday, September 14, 2007

Radhi To Testify

Former Iraqi Judge Radhi al-Radhi, recently forced out as the top anticorruption official of Iraq, is scheduled to testify next Thursday before the House government oversight and reform committee chaired by Representative Henry Waxman. Radhi can be expected to repeat what he told me in an exclusive interview: that the Iraqi government of Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki is so riddled with corruption that it cannot function and ought to be abolished.

His appearance on Capitol Hill--quite a juxtaposition to the visit of General David Petraeus--could be quite a blow for the White House, given that George W. Bush has argued that the U.S. is fighting in Iraq to create a "breathing space" in which the Maliki government can achieve national reconciliation and provide security and services to the Iraqi people. Yet if the government is, as Radhi says, corrupt to the core, this strategy might be unworkable.

So it's no surprise that the State Department has not done much to help Radhi, who has been essentially stranded in the United States. He was forcibly retired while in Washington for a training session. And now that he has so maligned the Maliki government, he would be in danger were he to return to Baghdad.

I'll have more on this soon.

WORDS OF ADVICE. If you're in Washington, DC this weekend, you ought to check out an art project at the Kennedy Center being mounted by Jenny Holzer, one of the most prominent American artists. Here's how The Washington Post describes it

Holzer will use high-powered projectors to cast text from the River Terrace of the Kennedy Center across the Potomac River and onto the island. Quotations from the two memorials' namesakes -- Presidents John F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt -- will scroll like movie credits from 7 to midnight each night through Sunday. The best viewing spot will be the terrace itself, which will be open to the public.

Holzer has compiled an hour's worth of quotes, which will run on a loop. Her design calls for the words to start on the river and then rise to the trees on the island. The white text will be so huge that only one line will fit on the trees at a time.

The project, called for FOR THE CAPITOL, has been organized by Street Scenes DC: Projects for Washington, an independent outfit that organizes temporary public art works. The quotes Holzer has selected are particularly relevant these days. Here's a sample:

"We cannot, as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crises." -- John F. Kennedy

"To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Roosevelt

Get it? Kinda subversive, isn't it? For more information and to see other quotes Holzer is casting across the Potomac, click here. Oh, by the way, Street Scenes is co-managed by Welmoed Laanstra, who happens to be my wife.

Posted by David Corn at September 14, 2007 11:42 AM


capt said...

I predict a slight mention then either a media blackout or the simple media eclipse - More Lohan or maybe Jessica Simpson?

(I hope the above is a reverse jinx and the corruption story gets some major traction)


capt said...

Bush's 'Troop Withdrawal' Branded Phony; Sattar Assassination a blow to Bush Optimism; 1 million Dead in Iraq?

Our national discourse has now reached a point where it is a journalistic coup just to point out when a politician is lying. Thus, the headlines that Bush's 'troop cuts,' announced in his speech last night, are phony, and reflect normal rotations.

Patrick Cockburn, whose excellent reporting is deeply informed by his risky forays into the real Iraq,, analyzes the meaning of the assassination of Sattar Abu Rishah for Bush's policies, and finds that ' His killing is a serious blow to President Bush and the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who have both portrayed the US success in Anbar, once the heart of the Sunni rebellion against US forces, as a sign that victory was attainable across Iraq. '

Tina Susman reports the results of a recent British poll done in Iraq, which concludes that as many as a million Iraqis have died in war-related violence since late March of 2003. This estimate is higher than that in the Lancet study of last fall, since that study simply looked at excess deaths from all kinds of violence above what one would have expected from the baseline of 2002. That is, the Lancet study included criminal violence, tribal feuding, etc., not just military or guerrilla actions. The combination of the two, however, makes the Lancet study's conclusions seem unassailable and if anything conservative.

David Broder thinks that US Ambassador in Iraq Ryan Crocker was admitting to Lindsay Graham that the US might push for a vote of no confidence in the al-Maliki government. Graham should please explain to us how the biggest bloc in parliament, the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, is going to come up with a candidate substantially more effective than al-Maliki is. The UIA under the Iraqi constitution would form the next government.

Frank Davies confirms my own analysis that the Democrats lack the ability to get the US out of Iraq. Many readers suggested the route of cutting off funds and refusing to present any other Defense budget, but realistically speaking that is a very dangerous ploy that could get them defeated in the next election as obstructionists. And if they are defeated, the Republican Party will keep the US in Iraq, so what would be the point?

The NYT reports that the compromise on the draft petroleum bill crafted by oil minister Hussein Shahristani with the Kurdistan Regional Government appears to have collapsed amid acrimony. Passing an oil law was put forward by Bush last January as one of four benchmarks that had to be met by June. The Kurds are now demanding Shahristani's resignation, since he calls independently-negotiated oil deals struck by the Kurdistan government with Hunt and other oil companies 'illegal' because they were not cleared by Baghdad. Children, can you spell 'Fort Sumter'?

The Kurds are also upset that the referendum on adding oil-rich Kirkuk province to the Kurdistan Regional Government is certainly going to be postponed from the planned date of late 2007.

At the Global Affairs blog, Barnett Rubin reflects on how his posting on a possible 'Iran war rollout' has been received in the blogosphere.

At the Napoleon's Egypt blog, an eyewitness account of the Battle of the Nile.

*****end of clip*****

Juan Cole with some well Informed Comment.


modesty becomes you said...

Oh, by the way, Street Scenes is co-managed by Welmoed Laanstra, who happens to be my wife.

Corn, seriously, she's a total catch. Something like THAT doesn't "just HAPPEN".

O'Realy? said...

Any news on your new blogsite... with comments?

capt said...


The most recent rumor I have heard is a month or two - seems likely before the new year.

That is if you believe rumors.


capt said...

Billions over Baghdad

Between April 2003 and June 2004, $12 billion in U.S. currency—much of it belonging to the Iraqi people—was shipped from the Federal Reserve to Baghdad, where it was dispensed by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Some of the cash went to pay for projects and keep ministries afloat, but, incredibly, at least $9 billion has gone missing, unaccounted for, in a frenzy of mismanagement and greed. Following a trail that leads from a safe in one of Saddam's palaces to a house near San Diego, to a P.O. box in the Bahamas, the authors discover just how little anyone cared about how the money was handled.


*****end of clip*****

My blood pressure SOARED as my face turned a bit red reading this. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.


capt said...

The Nightmare Is Here

We’ve heard from General Petraeus, from Ambassador Crocker, and on Thursday night from President Bush. What we haven’t heard this week is anything about the tragic reality on the ground for the ordinary citizens of Iraq, which is in the throes of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

President Bush may not be aware of this. In his televised address to the nation he warned that a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq could cause a “humanitarian nightmare.”

A trusted aide should take the president aside and quietly inform him that this nightmare arrived a good while ago.


*****end of clip*****

I posted many moons ago that by the time we leave Iraq the whole mess will be blamed on the Iraqis.


capt said...

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.
~ Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - )

capt said...

Scrutiny for Possible AG Nominee

Conservatives on Saturday lined up for and against potential attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey, the man they believe has ascended to the top of President Bush's list of replacements for Alberto Gonzales.

Earlier in the week, Democrats in the Senate threatened to block confirmation of another prospect — Theodore Olson, a longtime GOP ally and former solicitor general who represented Bush before the Supreme Court in the contested 2000 presidential election.

The behind-the-scenes battle over who will succeed Gonzales heated up over the weekend as the president, who was at Camp David, moved closer to announcing his choice.

So far, the White House has stayed quiet about who will replace Gonzales. An announcement is expected this week, and some legal conservatives and Republicans told The Associated Press that the White House appeared to be signaling that Mukasey was Bush's pick.

That prompted questions and praise for the former U.S. district judge from New York, who is an adviser to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.

Some legal conservatives and Republicans have expressed reservations about Mukasey's legal record and past endorsements, and said some groups have been drafting a strategy to oppose him.


*****end of clip*****

I hope the opposition party opposes too.


capt said...

Arctic thaw opens fabled trade route

For centuries explorers sought the Northwest Passage. Global warming has finally opened it up

The Arctic's sea covering has shrunk so much that the Northwest Passage, the fabled sea route that connects Europe and Asia, has opened up for the first time since records began.

The discovery, revealed through satellite images provided by the European Space Agency (Esa), shows how bad the consequences of global warming are becoming in northerly latitudes. This summer there was a reduction of a million square kilometres in the Arctic's ice covering compared with 2006, scientists have found.

As a result, the Northwest Passage that runs between Canada and Greenland has been freed of the ice that has previously blocked it and that, over the centuries, has frustrated dozens of expeditions that attempted to sail northwest and open up a commercial sea route between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

In addition, scientists have found that the Northeast Passage, a corresponding route that runs parallel to the north coast of Russia, may also soon become navigable - though the clearing of both passages is likely to fuel animosity between countries trying to exploit the region's oil, fish and mineral resources, experts have warned.

According to scientists led by Leif Toudal Pedersen of the Danish National Space Centre, Arctic ice this summer dropped to around 3 million square kilometres, a decrease of 1 million square kilometres on last year's coverage. Given that for the past 10 years Arctic ice has been disappearing at an average annual rate of only 100,000 square kilometres, this year's reduction is 'extreme', said Pedersen.

'The strong reduction in just one year raises flags that the ice [in summer] may disappear much sooner than expected and that we urgently need to understand better the processes involved,' he added.


*****end of clip*****

It is never too late to do the right thing(s).


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"Global warming" is just a pseudo-scientific moonbat lefty plot to undermine our benefactors the great corporations and *BLUG BLUG GURGLE BLOOP*

Wondering how to tinker with my DNA to grow gills, IBW

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

And speaking of fishy subjects:

*knock knock*


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Anyone else remember that episode of the animated Star Trek where Kirk and Spock were turned into water-breathers temporarily? We may need to develop that formula at the rate we're going.

"I'd like to be/Under the sea/In an octopus's garden..."

Sorry not to have checked in for so long; I spend so much of my Web time looking at YouTube these days.
I'm "amrak63" there; if anyone wants to check my favorites, I highly recommend "Surge Seasoning" [warning: a few f-bombs in it]. Also, warning: "Caramelldansen" is addictive. :)

From the swamps of Arkansas, IBW

capt said...

Lakes Boiling With Methane Discovered In Alaska

Last month, UAF researcher Katey Walter brought a National Public Radio crew to Alaska’s North Slope, hoping to show them examples of what happens when methane is released when permafrost thaws beneath lakes.

When they reached their destination, Walter and the crew found even more than they bargained for: a lake violently boiling with escaping methane.

“It was cold, wet and windy. We were dropped off in the middle of nowhere by a helicopter and paddled out to a huge methane plume in the middle of the lake with no idea what to expect, how strong the bubbling plume would be, whether or not our raft would stay afloat, how dangerous it would be to breath the gas,” said Walter, an assistant professor in UAF’s Institute of Northern Engineering and International Arctic Research Center. “The violent streams of bubbles made the lake appear as if it were boiling, but the water was pretty cold."

Walter studies methane emissions from arctic lakes, especially the connection between thawing permafrost and climate change. As permafrost around a lake’s edges thaws, the organic material in it--dead plants and animals--can enter the lake bottom, where bacteria convert it to methane, which bubbles into the atmosphere, sometimes in a spectacular fashion. Methane is much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Walter said this summer’s fieldwork indicates that methane hotspots, such as the one she and the crew experienced, can come from various sources, not just thawing permafrost. Her next goal is to identify and quantify the sources of the methane hotspots around Alaska.

“It is unlikely that this methane plume was related to permafrost thaw,” said Walter, adding that the methane boiling out of the lake was more likely related to natural gas seepage. “Should large quantities of methane be released from methane hydrates, for instance, in association with permafrost thaw, then we could have large sudden increases in atmospheric methane with potentially large affects on global temperatures.”

Walter’s project is one of many at UAF happening as part of the International Polar Year, an international event that will focus research efforts and public attention on the Earth’s polar regions.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Alaska Fairbanks.


*****end of clip*****

Sounds unearthly.


Carey said...

Interesting. Note how David Corn is on top of the right story once again. He's so dependable.

Mr. Corn,

Street Scenes DC sounds positively delightful. I knew the minute I saw the description your wife was involved. Bravo to Ms. Laanstra!

Excellent stuff Kirk. My computer's running poorly for the moment so I'll have to come back to some of the links once it's fixed. Below is a DP (double post).

Since my backyard is downright scenic with an old view revisited after my son, Danny, cut back trees a whole bunch, I don't have to travel for paradise! Don't know when I'm moving--that is not up to me but hard to explain why--but, hell, we sure are enjoying it.

I heard that 2008 is predicted to be the hottest year ever. How surprising and shitty.

One comment from the Sunday shows. When are people going to get to the nitty-gritty of it and call a spade a spade? It's an occupation. We're fighting the Iraqis for control of their oil. It is fucking simple!

God, one gets mad at those shows. Since it's election time, gotta keep up--monitor how the corporate media is controlling public consumption and attitudes.

Carey said...


Homer Simpson? Duuuh.

Carey said...

I meant "Dooooh".

capt said...


In my case Duh is as right as D'oh!



David B. Benson said...

Global warming implies more frequent extreme weather events. So far this wet season (in many parts of the world) there has been flooding in South China, affecting about 750,000 people, flooding in South Asia, affecting over 1,800,000 people, and flooding in Africa, affecting over 1,000,000 people.

capt said...

"I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance ... and one night late it came to me this way. We could not leave (the Philippines) to themselves--they were unfit for self-government--and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was... There was nothing left for us to do but take them all and educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them.": President William McKinley

Our men.... have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up... Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later.... stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.": Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines

American strategists have calculated the proportion of civilians killed in this century's major wars. In the First World War 5 per cent of those killed were civilians, in the Second World War 48 per cent, while in a Third World War 90-95 per cent would be civilians: Colin Ward, Anarchy in Action

What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment ... inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose: Thomas Jefferson


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

A Constitution to "Chain the Dogs of War"

Two-hundred and twenty years ago this week, the patriots who had stuck through the long process of drafting a Constitution for the new United States finally approved the document. The primary purpose of their creation was, in the language of their time, to "chain the dogs of war."

The American colonies has suffered the cruel fates of wars plotted and pursued by the royal families of distant Europe, and they set about to assure that the nation they had freed from the grip of British imperialism would not, itself, be subjected to the imperial whims of presidents who might someday imagine themselves to be kings.

"The executive should be able to repel and not to commence war," explained Roger Sherman, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Connecticut, who moved to make clear the intent of the founders that nothing in their exposition of the powers of the executive branch should be conceived as authorizing the president to "make war." An executive could assume the mantle of commander-in-chief only when it was necessary to defend the country; never to wage kingly wars of whim.

Sherman's resolution was approved overwhelmingly by the Philadelphia convention that finished its work September 17, 1787.

George Mason, the Virginia delegate who was the strongest advocate for restraint on the executive, summed up the sentiments of the delegates when he said: "I am for clogging rather than facilitating war."

So was the Constitution defined. Indeed, in arguing for its ratification, Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson explained, "This system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated to guard against it. It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress; for the important part in declaring war is vested in the legislature at large."

The procedures are clearly outlined. Wars must be declared by the houses of Congress. And the power to continue any war is rested entirely in the funding authority that is given Congress. The president does not enjoy the privilege of declaring or maintaining a war. He is merely a manager of military affairs in a time of conflict; and even in that he is required to defer on matters of consequence to the Congress.

This, we know, to be the law of the land.

Yet, as we mark the 220th anniversary of the Constitution, more than 160,000 young Americans are mired in the quagmire of an undeclared war in Iraq. More than 3,700 of them have died already, and the toll expands on a daily basis – as does the rate at which innocent Iraqis are killed, maimed and rendered homeless. More than $200 million is extracted from the federal treasury each day to pay for this war, despite the fact that it is, by any Constitutional standard, entirely illegitimate.

The founders would not question for a moment that the Congress has the authority to use the power of the purse to end this war. Indeed, they would argue today as they did in their time, that a failure to do so would imperil the Republic.

But the founders would be even more worried about the precedent set by the current president's seizure of ungranted authority for warmaking and so much else, and they would remind us, as George Mason did, that with regard to the Constitution: "No point is of more importance than that the right of impeachment should be continued."

The voters dealt with last fall with the Republican Congress that had collaborated with Bush to thwart the rule of law. The unfortunate reality of the moment is that a Democratic Congress that was elected to restore a measure of balance to the federal stage has responded to necessity with caution. But that does not change the eternal reality of the Republic, which is that this "opposition" Congress has a simple, basic, yet essential Constitutional duty. Members of the House and Senate must impeach and try a president who is assaulting the most basic precepts of the American experiment. Anything less is a mockery of the document they swear an oath to defend – and an invitation to this and future presidents to further unchain the dogs of war that the founders struggled so mightily to contain.


capt said...

Blackwater license being pulled in Iraq

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi government said Monday that it was pulling the license of an American security firm allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of civilians during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade in Baghdad.

The Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting. It was latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision and are widely disliked by Iraqis who resent their speeding motorcades and forceful behavior.

Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said eight civilians were killed and 13 were wounded when security contractors believed to be working for Blackwater USA opened fire in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of western Baghdad.

"We have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory. We will also refer those involved to Iraqi judicial authorities," Khalaf said.


*****end of clip*****

I wonder is Bush and his private army care whether there is valid license?


capt said...

Leahy: Our Focus is on Getting Information

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the man who will preside over Michael Mukasey's confirmation hearing, signals hard that Mukasey's not going anywhere until the committee gets the information it's been seeking on the U.S. attorney firings and the administration's warrantless wiretapping program. A statement just out:

“The Judiciary Committee will approach consideration of the nomination of an Attorney General in a serious and deliberate fashion. The Administration took months determining that a change in leadership was needed at the Department of Justice and then the President spent several weeks before making a nomination. Our focus now will be on securing the relevant information we need so we can proceed to schedule fair and thorough hearings. Cooperation from the White House will be essential in determining that schedule.

“The next Attorney General needs to be someone who can begin the process of restoring the Department of Justice to its proper mission. I am hopeful that once we obtain the information we need and we have had the opportunity to consider the nomination, we will be able to make progress in this regard.”


*****end of clip*****

Wow! I hope Leahy sticks to his guns. Watch the poll numbers go up for congress and anybody willing to say NO to our president-unbound.


capt said...

New Thread